June 26, 2015
I was lying in bed, probably looking at pictures of Khloe Kardashian, when my mom came into my room.
“Did you see it?” she asked, handing me her phone. I sat up, and read the headline of the article she had on the screen. I looked down at it and read the words, not sinking in.
Marriage equality passed in all fifty states. MARRIAGE EQUALITY PASSED IN ALL FIFTY STATES.
It still doesn’t entirely feel real, but it is, and I don’t think I will fully ever be able to express what this emotion is.
It is part blinding happiness. It is the happiness that all across the country, people are celebrating and dancing and loving and living.
It is part gratefulness that my personhood has been fully recognized in every state across the country.
It is part glee that we finally triumphed, and it feels like the end of a Disney movie where the good guys are cheering and the bad guys are grinding their teeth.
It is part sadness that generations of LGBTQIA+ before me did not live to see this day, and sadness that they didn’t see with their own eyes the brilliance and equality that they worked so hard for.
It is part peace that we, and by “we” I don’t mean just LGBTQIA+ people, but “we” as in everyone in the goddamn United States, can marry whomever we choose. By granting marriage equality, the institution has been restored. No longer will it be an elite club. Now it is something for everyone to hold faith in, to respect, to honor, to cherish.
When I came out at fifteen, more than four years ago, I didn’t think this day would come. The day that my mother would show me the news that marriage equality was passed nationwide. When marriage equality was passed in New York, I celebrated in silence by myself. But now, at nearly twenty years old, I can celebrate outwardly and proudly and I can feel the love and happiness pouring in over social media as all of my friends celebrate with me.
We are not only living history. We are also giving the next generation of LGBTQIA+ something that we were not given. We will be raising them in a world where they are recognized at this fundamental level with their heterosexual counterparts. I know that we are a long way from reaching total equality, and the fight isn’t over, but this is a huge thing. Marriage equality validates us in a way that has not been done before, and we will be giving our following generations a softer, hopefully better world to live in.
We are teaching the next generations that there isn’t anything wrong with being a boy who likes boys, a girl who likes girls, a girl who likes boys and girls, a boy who doesn’t like anyone, a girl whom everyone else sees as a boy. This isn’t just about marriage equality. This is about nudging our country towards acceptance and preaching self-acceptance.
I hope everyone relishes this day and basks in the sweet, hard-won victory for marriage equality. We did it, we’ve earned it, we’re here.